Father was a demon, court hears

January 29, 2008 - 2:20PM
A woman accused of binding her elderly father in cling wrap and suffocating him with a pillow believed he was a "demon" and he "had to go", a court has been told.

Ederino Beltrame, 70, died in April 2001 with a doctor signing off his death as from natural causes.

He had been suffering a terminal heart condition and was hospitalised with a brain haemorrhage in the months before his death.

An inquest into Mr Beltrame's death was terminated last year after his granddaughter and primary carer, Romina, came forward to accuse her mother, Daniella, of his murder.

Daniella Beltrame has pleaded not guilty to murder, forging her father's will and intimidating her second daughter, Loretta, to prevent her from giving evidence at the inquest.

Opening committal proceedings against Beltrame today in Sydney's Central Local Court, prosecutor Stephen Higgins, SC, said relations between Beltrame and her father were "strained" for some years and arguments had escalated into violence.

"In the early hours of the 26th of April, 2001 [Romina] was woken by her mother, the defendant, calling her from her grandfather's room to come and help," Mr Higgins told the court.

"When she entered the room she saw her grandfather bound to the bed with [cling wrap] and her mother forcing a pillow onto his face.

"After a struggle Romina was forced from the room.

"Her mother [followed] a short time later and told her that her grandfather was a demon and that he had to go.

"When she woke the next morning her grandfather was dead."

Beltrame produced a will in the days following her father's death which left her his entire estate.

Subsequent examinations of the document revealed his signature had been forged and typewriter ribbon seized from Beltrame had been used to make it, Mr Higgins said.

Analysis of Beltrame's computer hard-drive showed she had accessed internet sites relating to the detection and penalties for forgery and document examination.

She also had searched sites on death by poisoning, lethal injection, oxygen deprivation and air embolism, he said.

Beltrame allegedly approached her daughter, Loretta, prior to the inquest and demanded she not give evidence against her.

"The defendant presented documents which she demanded Loretta sign," Mr Higgins said.

"Loretta only looked at one of these documents which stated that she, Loretta, had wanted to kill her grandfather."

Doctor did not examine man